CHAPEL HILL, N.C. The best season in the history of Florida Gulf Coast University baseball is over.
The Eagles (43-20) were drilled 10-1 Sunday by North Carolina (49-13), tagging FGCU with its second loss in the double-elimination NCAA tournament regional at Chapel Hill.
Thus ended a season in which FGCU won more games than it ever had, won its first Atlantic Sun conference tournament title and made its first NCAA tournament appearance.
“First of all, we were excited to be here for our first trip, but today Carolina was a lot better than us,” FGCU head coach Dave Tollett said. “We thought we had to come out and get the lead, put a little pressure on them. That never happened, and once they got ahead they could play the hit-and-run game and be able to run.”
Saturday’s upset loss to Davidson, the bottom seed in the regional, put the Eagles into the compromising position of having to face the Tar Heels, the No. 2 national seed, to stay alive.
North Carolina jumped to a 3-0 lead after two innings and was up 5-0 by the time left fielder Eli Lovell drove in FGCU’s only run with a sixth-inning groundout.
Eagles starting pitcher Garrett Anderson was gone by that point, chased after giving up four earned runs on 10 hits in four and two-thirds innings.
The Tar Heels rapped out 15 hits in all and benefited from a pair of FGCU errors.
The result was a jarring end to a season that was largely filled with positives. FGCU beat Florida, Florida State and Miami for the first time in a single season. The Eagles were ranked as high as No. 9 nationally, the highest ranking of any program in the school’s history.